Roderick McDowell was running out of time to prove his worth.
Two games into the second half of his playing career, McDowell is off to a good start. He's doubled his career touchdown total.
McDowell now has 12 carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns on the young season.
"It's a blessing. It's real overwhelming at times," McDowell said, after leading Clemson with 59 yards rushing during Saturday's 52-17 win over Ball State.
"This is what I'm coached to do. This is what ‘Hot Rod' -- what people call me -- should do."
Back in 2009, Dabo Swinney made McDowell his first running back signee as Clemson's head coach.
"Rod has been a guy that is just a great example to a lot of people -- patience and continuing to believe in yourself, hanging in there," Swinney said.
McDowell rushed 46 times for 224 yards with two touchdowns along with a pair of catches for three yards in 103 snaps over 20 games in his first two seasons. After carrying 32 times as a redshirt freshman in 2010, his touches dropped to 14 a year later, four of which were in mop up duty against West Virginia.
Since arriving to Clemson in 2009, McDowell has watched two NFL running backs and at least one other future pro receive a majority of the touches.
"He's had to do everything he can to give himself a chance to be a great player," Swinney said. "It's so good to see him performing like he's performing right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence.
"He looks like the guy we recruited out of Sumter High School."
That won't change now that McDowell is finally a candidate for meaningful carries.
"I'm just going to come in, no matter what, no matter if it's in the fourth quarter, no matter if we're up or we're down, just come in and contribute. When my name is called, I just go out there and have fun."
Much of his success in 2012 is attributed to the guys clearing the way.
"We're 2-0. We're putting up points. Tajh [Boyd] has stats, Andre [Ellington] has stats, I have stats, Nuk [Hopkins] has stats that are real good. Without the offensive linemen, we couldn't do what we're doing right now," McDowell
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